Match reportLiverpool U18s suffer narrow defeat away at Man Utd
Ten-man Liverpool U18s suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at a frosty Carrington on Saturday morning.
Goals from Terence Miles and Ranel Young weren’t enough to secure a share of the spoils, though it was the home side who were nervously hoping for the final whistle at the end despite their numerical advantage.
Miles’ first-half penalty had given the Reds a good foothold in a game where they were comfortable and threatening for long periods.
But Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side were forced to play the final 30 minutes with 10 players after Calum Scanlon was shown a second yellow card on the hour.
It allowed United to add two more goals to a first-half opener from James Scanlon, most notably a strike from 35 yards from Jayce Fitzgerald for their third.
Even with 10 men, Liverpool created some fine chances, showing fine spirit in the process, and Young made it a grandstand finish with a fine run and conversion in injury time.
The Reds started fast and were almost ahead within a minute. Elijah Gift cut in from the right side and it took a fine low save from Elyh Harrison to deny him the opener.
The visitors were keeping the ball well and quick to jump on the hosts when they tried to play out through midfield.
It was a surprise then when they fell behind after a quarter of an hour. Right-back James Nolan made a dangerous break forward and his ball to the back post was moved on to Scanlon, who turned it past Luke Hewitson.
The deficit lasted just five minutes, though, as the Reds hit straight back.
The lively Kareem Ahmed got to a ball ahead of Ethan Williams in the United box and was clipped for a clear penalty. Miles stepped up to send Harrison the wrong way and make it 1-1.
Harrison was looking a little nervous between the posts and almost handed the Reds the lead with a couple of errors. First, his clearance went straight into the face of Trent Kone-Doherty, who was unlucky not to reach the rebound, before the goalkeeper almost let a back-pass through his legs and over the line, recovering just in time.
Both teams missed golden chances for a lead at the break, with opportunities spurned at both ends.
United winger Shea Lacey sent Victor Musa away with a pass over the top but the striker fluffed his attempted chip of Hewitson.
Then Liverpool’s press paid dividends – Elijah Gift stealing the ball on halfway and advancing to put Kone-Doherty in on goal. The Derry-born winger showed poise to cut in and blast on goal, but Harrison made a fine save to tip it over the bar.
The final chance of the opening period also fell to the winger, denied by the last defender after a fine turn and run from Cody Pennington.
Liverpool again controlled territory and most of the ball at the start of the second half but didn’t really make Harrison work.
That almost cost them as the home side stirred and created several openings. A free-kick to the back post was eventually cleared after a save from Hewitson before a last-ditch challenge denied Musa after a goalmouth scramble.
The game changed just after the hour mark when Liverpool's Scanlon received a second yellow, having previously been carded for catching Lacey from behind.
United made the extra man pay almost immediately, Manni Norkett meeting a cross from the left by Musa and giving Hewitson no chance.
The Reds kept going and a fine run down the right by Josh Davidson ended with a goal-bound shot kept out of the bottom corner by Louis Jackson’s late block.
United made the game safe in spectacular fashion with five minutes left when full-back Fitzgerald advanced onto a ball 35 yards out and unleashed a shot which cannoned in off the underside of the bar.
Pilling should have reduced the deficit within a minute, set up by substitute Young, but his effort was straight at Harrison.
Young, too, had a great chance, turning his man after a quick throw but also placing his shot too close to the goalkeeper.
He made no mistake in injury time, however, cutting through the home defence and placing his shot perfectly into the corner.
Liverpool U18s: Hewitson, Davidson, Scanlon, Miles, Lucky, Pennington, Ahmed (Young, 70), Laffey, Gift (Hayes-Green, 70), Pilling, Kone-Doherty (Gyimah, 63).
Unused substitutes: Trueman, Onanuga.